Vienna – Grand and Historical

Not many place in the World can claim to have started a World War, Not many places in the world can claim to have had several of Classical Music’s greats at the same time and Not many places can claim to have given various foods to the world. Vienna is one of the cultural capitals of the world.

Cafe Central
Vienna is famous for it’s coffee and coffee houses. They don’t get anymore famous that this one. We arrived at 8:30 am to a grand building on the corner with waiters dressed like 5 star restaurants. We ordered a Viennese breakfast and a ‘healthy’ breakfast. In addition, I had the Vienese coffe called Melange.

It was a substantial breakfast not only in the contents but also knowing that some of Vienna’s best had had breekie there. All in all, it wasaround 30 Euros for the breakfast but certainly worth it.

State Hall Museum
As we started walking around Vienna, we realised that we had no idea what we wanted to see. Our first stop after the coffee house was the State Hall, part of the national library. It was a large hall which was the personal library of the kings of Vienna. On first look alone, it was impossible to believe how Grand it was. Practically everything was gold painted, the cielings were 3 stores high and the Kings were all marble statues. It is impossible to think how much money was in Vienna for a library to have been so big.

In addition, there were examples of works kept in the national library – maps, manuscripts and writings of some of the greats of every field in their age. They even had near perfect maps of India and Western Australia before Australia as discovered.

Graben and Stephansplatz
Graben is the Pitt St Mall of Vienna. However, it is 10 times the size and hundreds of years older. All the luxury retailers had stores there. We decided to shop a little and take some stuff back home. The Graben also has various cafes with people enjoying the Sun and drinking coffee like many European cities.

There are various churches in this area and the best was Stephans platz. Despite the maintenance going on, it was still incredibly beautiful. It’s hard to think that cities this these were nearly wiped out in the 2 world wars but still look so pretty today. There’s cobblestone in most places, the buildings in the centre have a strict guideline with which to build and no building can look ultra modern or not adhering to the architecture.

We even took a trip up the tower of St Stephans church. The view of the city was immaculate and we saw lots more churches, historical buildings and even the new city. The area in the centre included the Castle of the Hopsburg dynasty and other historical Government buildings.

Confusion

We had decided to not visit museums earlier but there was nothing much else in Vienna. To top it off, there were more than 50 different museums. Whi one should we visit?

Whenever we settles on one, there would be another nearby just as good. I, personally, was overwhelmed. I just wanted to experience the city and the culture but the issue was there were so many museums which we could not possibly cover in 1.5 days.

In the end, we ended up going to some museums anyway. Plan of not visiting museums? fail!

Welt Museum

We got here late in the afternoon. The welt museum is part of the Vienna Castle. Outside the museum, Grand buildings and gren spaces exist in every direction. It is almost hard to imagine this grandeur.

We were here to see the music instruments museum but the ticket was for the entire museum. First stop was the historical armoury. This was the real knights in Crusades stuff. So much metal on show for the Knights.

One of the problems was the museum is almost completely in German with almost no English. We got the gist of the timescale of this time. There were incredible full Knight Armour, horse armour and weapons of various dynasties in the region. We had a good laugh at some of the Knight armous though. Many had ben built for fat Knights, others could hardly see anything from their helmets and some even had metal cups which were for “excitement” in battle.

The musical instruments Shruti wanted to see was a bit of a let down. Instead of an interactive museum, it was a collection of every type of musical instruments, from a period of 300 years. Great but we couldn’t read much which was not in English and most of the instruments were not unique(at least for us!)

Hauss der Musik

We stumbled onto this music museum accidentally while on the way to a brewery. Originally, a part of the Vienna Phillamonic Orchestra, it now housed some amazing information about Classical music in Vienna.

It was very interactive form the start with piano stairs for everyone’s pleasure. I mean it’s such a great idea, everyone had fun. It was like being a toddler with noisy shoes again.

There were experiments and sciece of Sound with lost of interaction to produce sound and understand how the ears work. There were areas of the top 3 of Vienna – Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. It is not our type of music but we still like it. A great museum!

Brews

Vienna like Munich is home to hundreds of beers. People drink beers here at all times. We tried 2 breweries, Weiden Brau and 1516. The former was very Viennese while the latter very American. A key difference is the naming of beers. Pale Ale and Dark beer are an English thing while Germans prefer Helles and Dunkler.

Conclusion

Vienna was a hit and miss for us, mainly through our own fault. We didn’t do a walking tour so lacked the local knowledge while not visiting the information centre early enough mean we couldn’t decide what to see. Having said that, it is an incredible city whose grandeur no doubt rivals Paris!

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